Boxed Wine Reviews, Storage Life, Pros and Cons Compared to Bottles
Boxed wine is cheap, but can have surprisingly good quality provided you don't store it too long. It is also an excellent way to buy wine in bulk and only drink what you need, such as one or two glasses a night.
It means that you don't have to consume an entire bottle of wine. You can re-cap a bottle of wine but the air inside the bottle will mean that it will quickly lose quality.
Air does not enter boxed wine as the wine is withdrawn, the bag simply collapses. But boxed wines have a limited life whether they are tapped for their contents or not.
Boxed wines are one of the very few wines that generally have published expiration date on the pack. Some bottled wine also needs to be consumed 'now', and have a limited life expectancy but no format 'use by date' is published on bottled wine.
This article discusses why boxed wines have expiry dates, how long they stay fresh and why they deteriorate.
Life Expectancy of Boxed Wines
Boxed wines are a lot better now than they used to be because the bag in the box is foil lined and is a lot less permeable to gases. Still you are wise to follow these general tips:
- Most Boxed wines should be consumed within 6-8 months of being packed (not the purchase date - so check the label).
- Boxed wines that have been opened, and for which no air has been allowed to enter can last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
- Chill your reds overnight and then bring to room temperature before serving
- Don't keep your wine on top of the fridge as this is generally a warm place in the kitchen
- Wine in the new cardboard Tetra Paks, lasts just as long as wine in glass bottles
- Boxed wine is ideal for barbecues and for camping
Why Do Boxed Wines Have an Expiry Date Even When Unopened?
This is because the bags or bladders are more porous than glass, which is completely impervious. Tiny amount of oxygen seep into the wine and cause it to oxidise.
It is similar to the process that occurs to wine once a bottle is opened. It quickly deteriorates.
For wine in a box this process happens very slowly, but it does so continuously.
Will chemicals from the bag seep into the wine and contaminate it or cause tainting?
A substance called BPA, is found in most plastics, but most bladders are completely free of this chemical.
Most are made from food grade polyethylene, which is one of the safest plastics there is available.
Polyethylene is inert and does not taint or contaminate the wine.
How does the Quality of Boxed Wine Compare with Bottled wine?
This really depends on the winery. Some boxed wine is better than many bottled wines.
For the top end of the quality range, bottled wines are definitely better.
At the lower end a good quality boxed wine is probably cheaper and better than the cheapest bottled wines.
The only way to tell is by trying and range of varieties.
Some companies specialise in smaller size boxed wines with premium wine in them.
Generally boxed wines are cheaper than the same wine in a bottle. But remember boxed wines are a bulk wine item and you cannot expect them to be premium grade.
The new wine packages offer longer life, but are still going to suffer because the romance of the bottle is missing. The ritual of opening a wine by removing the cork, or pouring wine from a bottle is probably always going to make wines from bottles taste better.
Romance of the Wine Bottle with a Traditional Cork is becoming a Thing of the Past
© 2013 Dr. John Anderson
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